*Asso heads on papers only
JAMMU, Feb 28: No-doubt, the State Government through J&K State Sports Council and the Department of Youth Services and Sports, takes initiatives to promote sports and games in nooks and corners of the State, yet ‘sports mafia’ in elitist sports body of the State is proving to be a major stumbling-block in promotion of games and sports in Jammu and Kashmir, rather it plagues sports promotion.
According to the reliable sources, some Associations, the Federations of which have been de-affiliated by the Central Government, are still receiving grant-in-aid from J&K State Sports Council, throwing constitution into the winds.
Sources said that there is a nexus between the illegal members of some Associations and a few officials of the Council, who function in close coordination with each other, rather work as a ‘mafia’ which can be termed as ‘sports mafia’, to make such things happen.
“Some officials of the Council who have mastered themselves in dealing with the affairs of the Sports Associations, manipulate things for their vested interests and manage to provide grant-in-aid to some Associations, which do not have recognized Federations,” sources added.
Sources close to J&K State Sports Council said that the Games like Tennis Ball Cricket, Thang-Ta and a few more have disputes in their Federations, which have led to their non-affiliation by the Union Ministry for Sports, are provided grant-in-aid for running activities at all the levels, viz. District, State and National level.
“Why J&K State Sports Council releases money in favour of Associations having unrecognized Federations is a million dollar question? Vested interests of the Council officials are definitely involved in fund releasing, otherwise, there is no way of going against norms,” said General Secretary of one of the Associations on the condition of anonymity while expressing anguish over the functioning of the Council.
What is more shocking is that some of the heads of the Associations are on papers only, otherwise, it is the same ‘sports mafia’ running such Associations.
Sources said that after the issuance of the circular by the Governor two years back, banning Government employees from being office bearers of the Sports Associations, the heads of a big number of Associations were forced to elect new office bearers, however, they are just on papers only and are like frill or an ornaments attached to these Associations, otherwise, the Associations are being run by the same people who were running them before the issuance of the circular.
Sources further said that the new office bearers serve as the ‘ATM Cards’ to the ‘mafia’ who use their Bank Accounts for releasing of funds, as the money is being transferred in the accounts of these nominal heads by the Sports Council, who simply serve as a bridge between the illegal members and the corrupt officials.
“The Jammu and Kashmir State Sports Council, headed by its Secretary Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra has successfully organized a series of mega events under State Football Academy and State Cricket Academy in almost all the districts of the State. However, the illegal activities by a few of its officials are overlapping the efforts of the Council head to bring bad name to it. The defaulters should be brought to the book at an earliest,” said a member of the Standing Committee of the Sports Council while expressing anonymity.
He further said that the members of these illegal Associations lure a big number of budding sportspersons by promising them issuance of certificates and provision of jobs, thus befooling them and leaving them in the lurch, adding that their certificates have no validity as they belong to unrecognized Federations, so why to talk of jobs.
Moreover, it has been observed that the ‘sports mafia’ by using the power of Ministers, top businessmen and trade experts in Council, restructure Sports Associations as per their will to call shots, rule the roast and reign the kingdom.
Wrestling Association, Hockey Association and Karate Association are a few Associations to name, where ‘survival of fittest’ is the only rule to survive.
The factions of these Associations make separate teams to represent the same State of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Sending two teams in one sports discipline to represent the State at the higher levels is simply a cruel joke. Council, rather than being soft towards one or the other faction, ought to ask them to solve disputes within themselves to stay alive,” said a Sports Council coach on the condition of anonymity.
Sources said, that the scrutinizing and screening of the teams by the Screening Committee of the Council, a practice adopted by the State from some years now, is also being done on the basis of access and influence.
The teams of some unrecognized Associations are being screened and some recognized Associations have to participate without screening.
When contacted and asked to deliberate on the issue, Secretary J&K State Sports Council, Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra said that the State aims at making more and more sports disciplines to represent it at the higher levels.
“We are committed to promote sports in nooks and corners of the State. We are releasing funds to a few Associations, whose Federations are not recognized at present but were recognized in the past. Moreover, the State is fetching medals in some of these disciplines, so there is no way to stop medal winners from participation in the Nationals. The Council releases funds in favour of the registered top office bearers of the Associations,” added Mr Parra.
He, however said that he had just over an year in the office, adding that he will try to go into the philosophy of the things to learn more about the constitution and the origin of the Sports Associations.
He assured that everything will be set right to see the State flourish at the national scene.